From the Editor: Focus on Growth

Large manufacturers are ready to shift gears.



While the name of the game the past few years has been controlling and cutting costs, senior manufacturing executives are apparently loosening the death grip on their wallets, according the 2011 Global Manufacturing Outlook from KPMG International.

The KPMG annual survey of 220 manufacturing executives-including 61 in the United States-from global companies with at least $1 billion in revenue found that businesses are cautiously optimistic on near-term prospects and are shifting their stances from cost containment to a focus on top-line growth as a priority in the next two years.

During the past two years, in addition to cost containment, U.S. executives were most focused on customer relationships, process efficiencies and shared services. Looking at their top priorities for the two years ahead, 26% of the U.S. executives say they will focus on top-line growth, followed by 13% saying R&D and innovation, and 12% indicating customer relationships, according to the report. Seventy-nine percent of U.S. respondents were either very optimistic or optimistic about their company’s business outlook for the next two years.

When asked to compare the primary focus areas of their growth strategies in the next two years with the two previous years, the survey revealed a shift in focus: 56% of manufacturers globally are planning to sell new products in new and existing markets during the next two years, up from 37%.

This eagerness to release new products was evident at the recent Quality Expo, held Sept. 20-22 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. A bevy of new products was unveiled at the show, and I spoke with several marketing people whose companies plan to release new products in the first quarter of 2012, a good indicator going into an IMTS year. It’s encouraging when one considers how many companies traditionally wait until IMTS to make a splash with new products.

I’m also seeing more new product announcements come across my desk than in recent memory, a sure sign that more money is going toward product development-whether it’s brand new product or a tweaking of existing products.

“Many companies emerged from the 2008-2010 downturn with significantly reduced cost structures, more cash and liquidity, and a laser focus on their customers and markets. These survivors have the mindset and strategy to define the standard of success in the next five years,” said Jeff Dobbs, KPMG’s global head of Diversified Industrials and a partner in the U.S. firm.

Where do you think manufacturing is headed in the short and long term? Is the industry poised for growth or is this recent revival a response to pent-up demand that will eventually fizzle out? Share your thoughts with me at campbellg@bnpmedia.com , or with other members of the Quality community at the Quality Magazine LinkedIn Group page, the Quality Facebook page and on Twitter .



Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Quality Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Gillian Campbell

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Podcasts

Karen Spencer, Clinkenbeard's quality manager, discusses what makes the plant stand out, advice for other plants, and looks to the future.
More Podcasts

Quality Magazine

CoverImage

2015 March

The March 2015 edition of Quality Magazine includes this years Quality's 2015 Plant of the Year.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Topics to Talk About

What topics would you like to see Quality cover more?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

qcast_ClearSeas_logo.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook2015_40 twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png  GooglePlus_40

eNewsletters